If Rescue Dogs Could Talk



Here is what we know:

  1. At the beginning of December, we rescued Cinnamon.
  2. The evening we took her in it was freezing and she was outside.  She was barley moving when we picked her up.
  3. There was a puppy nearby that looked like her.
  4. Cinnamon had enlarged nipples. 
  5. Many cuts, bald spots and scars were found on her body when the Intake Assessment was performed. 
  6. Cinnamon was classified as emaciated because her body weight was so low. 
  7. Cinnamon was determined to be approximately 2 years old. 


Since Cinnamon is not able to tell us her life story, here is what we assume: 

  1. Cinnamon did not have a home to shelter her from the elements.  As a short haired breed, our winter temperatures were hard on her. 
  2. She did not have someone that fed her regular meals. 
  3. She was not spayed and as a result had unwanted litters with every heat cycle, including the pup that was nearby on her rescue that resembled her. 
  4. Based on her scars and wounds she had met with violent actions, either from dogs, predators or humans.


There is some debate as to how long a dog can remember and what the dog will keep with them from short and long term memory.  Even if Cinnamon has clear memories of her life experiences prior to rescue, there are few ways she can let us know about them. 

For some fosters, adoptive parents and rescuers, the story of a rescue dog is so compelling, they spend hours speculating on what happened to a dog.  This helps some individuals cope with the assumed neglect or difficult situations that the dog may have experienced.  There is debate also when whether this human need for a background story holds the dog hostage in the past.  Certain dogs are treated certain ways, given freedoms and leeway that a dog with a blank slate would not.  Certain dogs are coddled because we have personified them and are reacting to their history.   In our quest to help rescue dogs with a difficult histories, are we refusing to let them move onto their future by holding on to these stories of their past? 

I do not know the answer to that.   What I do know is that in Cinnamon's case, it is clear from her physical condition that she did not have an easy life.  We do not know what types of experiences generated happiness, comfort or fear from her.  Whatever these experiences were, we know that we are committed to making sure that she has a happy and healthy life now. 

Dogs like Cinnamon can't talk and tell us their stories and sometimes I wonder if we would be able to cope with hearing them anyway. 


Written by hart at 00:00



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